Dinner at Amalia Café | Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI

During my visit to St. Thomas, I was able to venture into Charlotte Amalie during the “Miracle on Main Street” event on Friday, December 16, 2011. After watching the boats in the lighted boat parade and listening to music, we headed for Amalia Café for dinner. The sign may say “Meson Amalia,” but the restaurant goes by Amalia Café. From their web site:

Enjoy a taste of Spain in the Caribbean. Amalia Café is a delightful open-air restaurant owned and operated by Randolph and Helga Maynard. Located in the cobblestone Palm Passage, this Spanish meson serves a varied selection of Spanish favorites and augmented by daily tapa and entrée specials.

A cozy restaurant with an intimate atmosphere, this restaurant draws customers in with the great fragrances emanating from their kitchen into the Palm Passage, but keeps them coming back because of their attention to detail as well as their quality food and service. On the night we went, there was a different menu than normal because of the “Miracle on Main Street” festivities. Our host for the evening, Alani Henneman-Todman from the Department of Tourism said she really enjoys the pear salad and the escargot, but these items, unfortunately, weren’t on the special menu.

To start the evening, I ordered sangria, which you have the option of ordering either the regular or white sangria. Known for the best sangria on St. Thomas, I have to agree that it was pretty good. You can order by the glass or by the carafe, too. We ordered a carafe, which we were told was two glasses, but we first received two full glasses and we could then easily refill each of our glasses at least two more times. That is one full carafe! They do have an extensive wine menu and some little ones at our table were treated to a couple of Shirley Temple drinks so they will accommodate your requests easily.

The menu was primarily meat and seafood so I was somewhat limited in what I could order. Granted, they did have bread and olives that you could order, which we did and they were delicious. All of the food served at Amalia Café was looked extremely appetizing and fresh. Someone at our table ordered this salad and it looks as fresh and tasty as I would expect it to be.

One of the popular items on the menu, which two people at my table ordered, was the Salpicon de Mariscos, a melange of fresh shellfish, mussels, shrimp, crabmeat and scallops served with a “top secret sauce.” I joked that it sounded like the special sauce from McDonald’s and apparently it tastes somewhat similiar to that, kind of a Thousand Island type of sauce, but the dish was very well received. Beautifully presented and chock full of seafood, this appears to be the dish to order when visiting Amalia Café.

The server was informed that there were two non-meat eaters at the table and we were instantly accommodated. For the 7-year-old girl at our table, she was brought a plate of pasta with vegetables and what was incredible was how intuitive the staff was about this. Instead of waiting until we were all served our entrees, they brought her meal out early as it was getting late and she was quite hungry. I was offered the Plato Vegetariano, a special plate of assorted grilled vegetables with rice. This may not seem interesting or appetizing to everyone, but it was delicious. The vegetables, including zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and onions, were grilled perfectly and absolutely delicious.

This is one of the other entrees that was served at our table and I’m not 100% sure, but I think it is the Zarzuela de Mariscos, a Costa Brava style seafood casserole of snapper, grouper, salmon and hake in tomato brandy sauce with mussels, clams and shrimp. Clearly they excel at seafood so I do recommend having any of their seafood as those who were at my table and had seafood dishes were extremely impressed with their meals.

I do have to reiterate that the service in addition to the food was great and I can completely understand why people go back here repeatedly. The next time you are in St. Thomas and if you are looking for somewhere to enjoy lunch or dinner, try Amalia Café for a special dining experience.

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